Will determine costs and perks of becoming town
Just how much does it cost to become a town in 2008? That question should be answered in a new study commissioned by the Crested Butte South Property Owners Association.
Last month, the board hired Public Resource Management Alliance Corporation (PreMA Corp) to study the cost of incorporation and estimate a first-year budget for Crested Butte South if its residents choose to incorporate.
Property Owners Association manager Chris Behan says the study should answer the “what if” question of whether the 460-acre subdivision, which is located seven miles south of Crested Butte, should become a town. “It’s been a question that’s been asked at every meeting that I’ve been at for three years,” Behan says. “I think a lot of people think it’s the logical progression of Crested Butte South to become its own town.”
Board president Al Smith says becoming a town might be a good thing for the subdivision, particularly if it could improve services for the area, which is home to 1,500 residents or 10 percent of Gunnison County’s 2007 population of 14,865. Crested Butte South is estimated to have 2,600 people at build-out. “We’re the Rodney Dangerfield of Gunnison County: ‘We get no respect,’” he says, noting that he feels the subdivision is excluded from countywide decisions despite being the most populous subdivision in the county.
Smith says it’s not necessarily fair because Crested Butte South residents contribute money to the towns’ coffers via sales tax and county property taxes.
The study will cost the Property Owners Association $9,600 and the results will be presented at the annual association meeting on August 10. “It should tell us ‘It will cost X to incorporate’ and what the first-year budget will look,” Behan says. “We can then make a decision on that.”
Smith is interested in what the study will find. “Even if nothing changes, it will be interesting information,” he says, noting the “what if” question. “Right now, we don’t have a proper answer to a pretty good question,” he says.
If Crested Butte South did become a municipality, it could end annual association dues in favor of collecting property taxes. In addition, as a town, the area could qualify for local, state and federal assistance and eliminate county oversight of building in Crested Butte South. Currently, both the subdivision and county government must approve building plans.
Crested Butte South has been pursuing steps toward becoming a town for some time. In 2003, Gunnison County agreed to move ahead with the idea of designating Crested Butte South as a special area—an overlay region in the county in which a different set of rules can apply other than those laid out in the county’s Land Use Resolution (LUR). In 2005, the Property Owners Association began its planning process by hiring Julie Ann Woods of Elk Mountain Planning Group to help to develop a Commercial Area Master Plan for 20 acres platted for commercial use in Crested Butte South. The Master Plan was completed and adopted by the Property Owners Association board in 2006.
Shortly thereafter, the subdivision’s board began the process of getting approved for a Special Area Designation under the LUR—a designation that will basically allow rules for Crested Butte South different from what’s available in Gunnison County.
The special area designation for Crested Butte South is scheduled to be reviewed by the Gunnison County Planning Commission on April 18, 2008 and may be up for consideration before the Planning Commission and County Commissioners on June 20, 2008.